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United States v. Hernandez

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
176 F.3d 719 (3d Cir. 1999)


Facts

Julio Hernandez (defendant) was charged with various crimes related to the hijacking of a tractor-trailer. At trial, the trial judge permitted the jurors to ask questions to witnesses. The jurors were instructed to write down any question they had, and the trial judge would provide counsel with an opportunity to object to the question outside of the presence of the jury. The trial judge would then determine whether to ask the question to the witness. Only one juror wrote down a question of fact, but the trial judge decided not to ask the question to the witness. Hernandez was convicted. Hernandez appealed, arguing that the trial judge had committed an abuse of discretion by allowing the jurors to ask questions to witnesses.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

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Holding and Reasoning (McKee, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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